The Role of Residency Programs in Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Teachers of Color

2016–2017 teacher resident Vitalis Obidi and his mentor, Berkley Maynard Academy teacher Nik White, had the opportunity to travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in March 2017 to present at the Harvard Graduate School of Education annual Alumni of Color Conference (AOCC). White and Obidi worked together to assemble a panel of six presenters in collaboration with our colleagues at the Boston Teacher Residency. The focus of the panel was the role of residency programs in recruiting, training, and retaining teachers of color.

The presentation was an opportunity for the six panelists to discuss their lived experiences navigating multiple identities as teachers of color working in historically underserved schools and communities in Boston and Oakland. Obidi and White, along with their fellow panelists, engaged each other and the audience in critical conversations about the ways in which educators, teacher preparation programs, school districts, and communities of color can work to interrupt inequitable educational systems specifically through the preparation and sustained professional support of teachers of color. They discussed the ways in which the Alder Teacher Residency and Boston Teacher Residency prepared them to be teachers who were ready to hit the ground running on their first day of teaching and committed to the profession for the long haul.

White and Obidi returned from the conference exhilarated from the experience. As both an Alder Teacher Residency Mentor and alumnus, White said that he felt enriched by the opportunity to share more about the residency with a diverse group of participants at the conference. In addition, White used the collaboration with the Boston Teacher Residency as an opportunity to observe his co-presenters’ classrooms in Boston. As a resident and newcomer to the profession, Obidi was invigorated by the diversity of the stakeholders present at AOCC and empowered by this community of professionals. Both Obidi and White look forward to returning to AOCC in the future, as well as continuing to take part in other conferences and professional opportunities aimed at the recruitment and support of teachers of color.